Craig Faris, blind entrepreneur, required an accessible point-of-sale solution for his store. The software needed to work for his employees at The Quilted Duck Gift Cottage in Nanaimo, British Columbia and meet his needs as a blind person. Canadian Retail Solutions provided the solution with Retail Pro and Faris has been very happy with the results.
Coming from a technical background, Faris had high standards for the software he wanted to purchase. He began his entrepreneurial career at the age of 13, putting together an online retail store for the visually impaired. He ran the online shop for 17 years and sold it in early 2012. He used the funds to purchase The Quilted Duck Gift Cottage and to start up a non-profit organization, Seeds of Promise, which works with blind and visually impaired children in Africa.
Faris needed a point of sale system for the store since The Quilted Duck had been running on a paper-only system prior to his purchase of the business, and Faris wanted an accessible system to help him run the business. He researched several retail point of sale systems, specifically Windows-based systems. He found that Retail Pro had the perfect fit of POS and Inventory Management that he was looking for.
Faris then contacted CRS and spoke to our National Sales Manager, Kirsten Wilby-Hynds. He asked her about daily reporting, how easy Retail Pro was to use, and how the learning curve would be for the staff. Then he dropped his bombshell that he was totally blind and needed the software to be accessible so he could have his finger on the pulse of the business. Wilby-Hynds promptly downloaded the demo of Faris’ favourite screen reading package, Window-Eyes, by GW Micro.
She installed it on her computer with Retail Pro and then she called Faris to show him how it was reading the dialogue. To his amazement, the system appeared to be completely accessible. The edit boxes, combo boxes and check boxes were all standard controls that work for a screen reader. After he heard that he went ahead and bought Retail Pro and the necessary hardware.
Faris reported that had the staff learned Retail Pro quickly, thanks in part to in-depth training by CRS. He found it really easy to use and he loves the daily reporting. Automatic uploads of sales reports to Dropbox means he’s always on top of his business no matter where he is. He can see every item that’s sold, every consignment item that’s still in the store, and so on.
He’s been on several trips since he bought the store, and every time he’s able to interact with the software and it’s just working perfectly.
Faris sold his online business in order to pursue his dream of helping visually impaired African children. The store and Seeds of Promise go hand-in-hand as Faris still needs to generate an income for himself while running the charity. The Quilted Duck is an established business in Nanaimo and Faris jumped at the chance to purchase it. Not only does it give him an income as well as employing other members of the community, but he brings back unique items from Africa to sell at the store when he travels there as part of his work with his charity. Seeds of Promise is driving real change in Uganda, where it’s run a successful program getting shoes to children who need them with the Shillings for Shoes program. It’s the organization’s goal to open both a home for children and a primary school in Uganda. If you want to contribute to Seeds of Promise, you can do so here.
Canadian Retail Solutions is excited about continuing to work with Craig in developing the tools he needs to succeed in a very worthwhile business and nonprofit organization.
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